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Ford Windstar Transmission



  • Ive read on here and other sites countless complaints of Windstars all of a sudden just quit moving. I didnt think i would be one of them but i went out to go to the store yesterday and put the van in reverse and it wouldnt move. I tried every gear and nothing.Its not going anywhere again.I cant afford a new transmission and even if i could it would have to be guaranteed for at least 100,000 miles which nobody can do. My tranny gave no indication that anything was wrong. Ive also read that when this happens to people they get their Tranny's rebuilt or replaced for thousands of dollars. Ive read on one these complaints where a guy found the pump in the bottom of the transmission pan and that was why it wasnt moving. I talked to a local transmission shop here and he says more than likely its the pump which can be fixed for 400.00 because all they have to do is drop the pan. I absolutely refuse to believe that my transmission is cooked unless i see metal shavings or chunks in the bottom of the pan.I havent fixed my van yet but when i take it in and if it is the pump then that means all these people with the same problem, that has had their transmission replaced, got screwed. Im going to do another post after i take it down to the mechanic and find out whats REALLY GOING ON HERE.Also, for all you guys that are having electrical problems. There is a computer under the cowl in the engine bay. Water drips down in there and corode :sick: s the connection and causes all kinds of problems. Why ford would put a computer outside and not on the inside of the vehicle is anybodys guess. You have to take your cowl covers off to even get to it. Maybe Ford wants you to come back for things like that so they can charge you thousands of dollars.I love the van and it hasnt given me any trouble except for a alternator. Its a poorly designed vehicle though.
  • boss302jboss302j Posts: 15
    I don't know about the pump being bad, but I believe it is somewhat common for the splines in the torque converter to strip out, that is what happened to mine.
  • Thanks for the info Boss. That at least gives me a place to look. I would think that if the splines stripped out then when my mechanic drops the pan we should see some metal shavings or chunks. Im going to have him run a magnet through the oil before we do ANYTHING at all. I just have one question for you though. Did it turn out that it was a poor design on the torque converter and did you get one from somebody else other than ford when they rebuilt your tranny? The thing with the pumps is, ive heard they were built of some kind of crap metal and are prone to cracking. Also the pump seal seems to be problematic too.I'm taking my van down next week to see WTH. After that i'll probably post again just to let people know whats up with this tranny hoping i can help some people avoid this problem.
  • boss302jboss302j Posts: 15
    I saw no metal shavings in mine, the shaft was fine. I believe it is a fairly common problem. From what I understand, the splined piece in the converter is only about as thick as a washer. Yes, I purchased a converter from a local tranny shop and replaced it myself. Had 93k miles on it then, has about 150k on it now. All I replaced was the converter, front seal and fluid and filter, pan gaskets are reusable.
  • Have a 2003 Windstar. Have had the transmission 'fixed' twice. The thing is slipping again and probably will need a third overhaul in three years. This a problem that FORD knew about and ignored. This van was driven lightly and I mean lightly.Has 88,320.00 miles on it. We bought it with 23,000 on it in 2005. That's 8100 miles a year. It should never have failed so many times. There should be a recall on this vehicle. FORD owes it to it's loyal customers. I won't buy another FORD product. It has already cost me about $4,000.00!!!!!! What a piece of garbage they made. Shame on you FORD.
  • What did you find out I have a 98 ford windstar doing that to me
  • I have a 98 ford windstart with the 3.0 in it about 2 year ago I was driveing down the road and it down shif on me and did not want to go like over 30 40 so I was think the tranny was out of it so I park it well 2 day later I got in it and it was fine so I took it in and hade it look at I was told that it was fine so I hade the tranny flush out but now it did it again to me got all most home from work and it like drop speed and would not go over like 30 or 40 then I got it home and when I got up about 5 hr later to pick up my kids from school it was fine so I took it to work and it was fine but when I was on my way home it start messing up so i park it now a day later it is working again any idea what it could be there is no check engine light on and the od is not flashing
  • Ok, I have the same issue and I just dropped it at the ford service center. It only happens when the engine is hot and I also noticed that the speedometer drops and doesn't react until it up shifts again into second ( if it upshifts). I'm not losing fluid and I don't smell burnt fluid. It seemed to me that it was a reaction problem, and related to the speedometer and tranny. After a bit of research I found a recall issued by Ford in 2007 : Recall ID # 80548 - VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL

    Read more:

    This may be the issue. I will know for sure tomorrow.
    If you have the overdrive button ( I don't ) on the gearshift then I suggest a youtube, there are several videos showing how to bypass the overdrive sensor.
  • I had similar problems with my 98 FW and after some research I found a recall from 2009 and it covers our vans : Recall ID # 80548 - VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL Hide Details

    Read more:

    I took mine in and after diagnostics they confirmed it was the problem. Once the engine gets hot the speedometer doesn't react and it won't upshift into 1st.
    Hope this helps.
  • boss302jboss302j Posts: 15
    I understand they fixed your problem. The switch the recall is referencing is for disengaging the cruise control. When mine failed after the recall was done on my F150 the only symptom was the cruise control quit working. The switch is just an on/off pressure switch that goes on the master cylinder. I believe it is a redundant switch, because with it bypassed the cruise still turns off with the brakes applied. I am fairly confident the switch has no bearing on the transmission or speedometer. It may have leaked brake fluid on another component and caused a problem.
  • tock off the lines to see if it pums out fluied and it does that mean the torque converter is bad
  • boss302jboss302j Posts: 15
    If it is pumping fluid out the lines when you start the van, then the spline problem I spoke of earlier is not your problem.
  • germanrgermanr Posts: 1
    edited May 2013
    I am wondering if you can tell me were to find a forward clutch cylinder (drum) for my 95 windstar, 3.8, I am at my 3rd used transmission with this van. Unemployed, DAV, so I just cant go out and buy even a used car.
    Sending this out as an S.O.S.
    Thanks for the great info.
  • sobmazsobmaz Posts: 2
    I am a Windstar victim. I bought a 1999 Windstar, the Tranny went out in 2002 at 63K miles, only 3K past the warranty. The miles I had put on were mostly easy highway miles between san diego and Portland. Anyway, I did a little research and found the Windstar had an exceptionally high number of Transmission failures.

    Being that I was only 3k out of warranty, I wrote a nice letter to Ford asking that they split the cost of the transmission with me. I explained I was a loyal customer and would remain if the "made things right".

    My request was denied and, being a man of my word, have never purchased another Ford.
  • sobmazsobmaz Posts: 2
    FYI, I may be off on the time line but I remember I was within the 3 years but over on the mileage.
  • I've read about so MANY people having the no more forward motion problem on here. No noise, smoke or any indication. I've also read about so many people replacing the transmission for thousands of dollars, sometimes 2 or 3 times. My 2003 did this same thing. I backed out of the driveway and put it in drive and nothing. Never to move again. Heres what i found out. Some of these vans have the most crappy torque converters that should never have been used to begin with. The hardened shaft shears all the teeth off the insides of the torque converter. Hard to believe it but its true.I saw this with my own two eyes. No extra metal in the bottom of the pan either. My local small shop put in a used converter for me for 800.00.If what im thinking is true, then a bunch of people have been screwed by these tranny guys just to make a couple thousand off of you. Before any of you plunk down the high dollars for a transmission that might not even be bad, make these guys show you the inside of your torque converter to see if the teeth haven't been sheared off. Dont fall for their junk transmission speech if its only a torque converter that you need. The transmissions weren't bad, the torque converters were.
  • boss302jboss302j Posts: 15
    Here is my post from 2007
    I agree, I am sure a lot of trannys get sold for this reason

    #54 of 220 Re: transmisson problems [buzfreely] by boss302j
    Dec 13, 2007 (10:28 pm)
    Replying to: buzfreely (Dec 12, 2007 6:20 pm)
    Same exact thing happened to me, the splined piece that turns the pump shaft stripped out in the torque converter. I replaced my converter and all is well now. I did it myself and it cost me about $250.00. 150.00 for a rebuilt converter, $50.00 for fluid and the rest was new front seal, filter etc. I would say if you aren't a mechanic I would not even think of doing this yourself. Expect to pay a decent amount for labor.
  • Hey guys. So desperate mom of three here with one vehicle for my family. Two years ago we bought a 2001 ford Windstar. No major problems until a couple months ago. The van was idling rough so took it to a "friend" who's a mechanic. He popped the hood and said the engine was "swelling" a sign our cadalyc converter was clogged. He cut one off emptied it out in front of us and welded a pipe back on until we had the required $900 to get it properly fixed. My van was fine until two weeks later. My husband comes home from his first job long enough to change clothes and off to the second job. Well 10 mins after leaving he is home telling me the van has no "power" suddenly. Battery turns the car on but as soon as you hit the gas it shuts off. I do a bunch of research and we replace the #15 and #19 fuses. Van starts acting normal again. One week later the o/d light starts blinking and same problem comes back. Fuses are fine. If the van is in park the engine revs fine and everything sounds good. As soon as you put it in gear there's a loss of power. You can somewhat stomp the peddle and get the van to stay on. It will drive and the tranny seems to be shifting fine once you get it up to speed but you have to repeatedly stomp the gas to get it moving and even then you can tell there's no real power. O/d light still flashing. Here's some extra info too. Transmission fluid is good. Abs system is completely gone although they said my van is not covered by recall. The little bolt looking switch that was said to leak had been replaced as well as wires right there before I bought it. Battery is sometimes drained due to break lights coming on whenever they want so new battery in van. Replaced the egr valve and the throttle position sensor. Fuel button is down. Can anybody please please PLEASE help????? My hubby's email is We have called ford many times but as most of you know they give NO [non-permissible content removed] about us consumers. Thanks y'all!!!!
  • It is the Neutral Safety Switch
  • I love these vans and recently bought another 1998. I just experienced the van not upshifting. After reading the forums I suspected it was the output shaft sensor. I jacked the vehicle up and started looking for this component. It must be internal so I just started looking for any electrical connection on the Xmission. After the removing the complete air cleaner assmy. I found the main electrical connector for the tranny under the air cleaner assmy. I removed the connector to check for corrosion. This must be a replaced tranny for the clips on the connector were broken. Any way I checked for corrosion (none) and sled the connector off and on a few times just in case. Seems to be working again. However I saw a speed sensor recall that describes problem as being heat related. Anyhow this would be a good place to start if you are experiencing similar problem.
  • My 03 Windstar has an issue it's been having for a year or so now, not any better or worse with time. But when I put it into reverse, sometimes it goes right into gear. But sometimes it won't kick into gear at all until I give it some gas, and it'll slowly move backwards and eventually "grab" reverse and start moving as it should. Forward gears seem fine. Being a sporadic issue, it's been tough.

    Is there a reverse clutch band to tighten? Maybe a valve body overhaul/replacement? Fluid level is good and doesn't smell burnt. No check engine or tranny light. Any help would be appreciated!
  • ralphstypistralphstypist Posts: 5
    edited November 2013
    We have a 1998 windstar van 3L engine, 4cylinder, and it's giving us a problem with the transmission. After it warms up, it only goes to 2nd gear. Cold it shifts fine, the fluid is up. We tried "rebooting" the computer and it ran okay for a short time, then went to 2nd gear and started all over again. I know that other people have had the same problem, but if we could get some information on what we can check ourselves it would be great because an expensive repair is not in the cards at this time. My husband can fix stuff, but just needs some guidance as to where to look. In the meantime, I just have to resort to driving slow when the problem occurs for now. Thank you.
  • Our 1998 Windstar van is acting up. It stalled a few days ago, would fire up, but not start. We did get it to start (on it's own) after waiting awhile, but it stalled again today and will turn over good, but just won't start. Last time we disconnected the computer, let it sit then connected it again, and after some hesitation, but this time it just doesn't seem to want to start. Is there something we can check or change? Any suggestions? Thank you.
  • there are a few test to be done to get you headed in the right direction. Sounds like a fuel pump or clogged fuel filter. But that is a guess make on very limited information.
  • Thank you for your reply. We removed the fuel pump (in preparation for replacement) and it seems to work. We tested it, and it pumped gas, is there a chance it's just weak?? Van will turn over but not fire. If it was a relay, would the pump not run at all? If it was a clogged filter, wouldn't it fire and be sputtery or stall? We're at our wits end, when it first started, we hit the gas tank (me laying on the cold ground whacking on it) and it would almost fire, but stop hitting, then just turn over. Our next thing is we're gonna change the filter (at least HE is) and see where that takes us.
    ps, my hubby is a body man so he made a place in the van to get at the fuel pump from above, making it east to remove/install or test. When we're done, he does his magic to fix the hole we cut, but this way no dropping the tank.
    Thank you.
  • There is an easy test. On the engine there is a chrome fuel line with a Schrader Valve. Much like the valve stem on a tire. It should even have a little cap on it. The Auto parts store may loan you a fuel pressure gauge. Pressure should be around 35-40 psi. Even with out the gauge you can depress the pin in the valve and gas should come out with great pressure. Something else to know to check the fuel pump is this. If you turn the key to run before moving it all the way to the crank position you will hear the pump run for three seconds. This builds up the pressure to prepare the engine to start. So you can do this repeatedly to listen for the fuel pump. So to recap We must know if there is pressure at the fuel rail(Schrader valve). If you hear the pump but do not get 40 psi at the valve I would then replace the fuel filter. You will need to buy a special $5 tool to remove. Get the one that is built like a pair of Scissors. I have solved the problem you describe twice buy replacing the filter. Once I was driving down the hi-way and my van quit and would not restart until I replaced the filter.. HERE is the other test that must be done anytime you have an engine that will crank but not start. An engine requires three elements to run. Fuel, Air, and Spark. So it must be determined also if there is spark. This is easy. Pull one of the spark plug cables loose at the coil pack. Set the cable back very near to its connection but far enough away (about a quarter inch) to watch for an arc. Do not hold the cable or you will feel the Thousand volt blast. You can alternatively pull the cable from the spark plug and set it near a bolt or metal bracket and watch for the arc. Now crank the engine and watch for the arc. If you can see and hear the pop you have a good ignition system and as soon as you have good fuel pressure the engine should start. If this does not solve your problem let me know and we will get into the fuel injectors.
  • Thank you for the information. We are definitely changing the filter FIRST because I imagine it's dirty. We have checked for spark and yes it's there. I hope this solves the problem because we don't want to get into injectors, but if need be..........
    Thank you again.
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!!! s'all fixed, van is running and doing well. We did have to change the fuel pump because although the old one ran, it only went "blaaahhhh" while the new one "zips" !!! Thank you again.
  • I need help...Today my 2003 Windstar just stopped moving POOF just like that..I pulled over to check my mail went to pull off drove maybe 25ft and my van wouldn't go any further..RPMs going up but van not moving..Iv had no trouble with my tranny since we bought this vehicle.In fact I had been out running errands most of the morning...When I put the car into gear nothing happens no reverse no drive nothing and it dosnt even make a sound like it normally does when you go into gear..Anyone know what it might be? Transmission fluid smells a little funny..

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